South African listed media company African Media Entertainment (AME) has reported disappointing end of year results, with the group's revenue falling by about a third to $18.3m (R209m).
This fall in revenue was attributed largely to the disposal of struggling units and unprofitable operations. The group was a major co-financier of feature films from 1998-2000 and invested over $1.75m (R20m) in films such as Gavin Hood's A Reasonable Man with Nigel Hawthorne, Neal Sundstrom's South African comedy Inside Out and the actioner High Explosive starring Patrick Bergin and Eric Roberts.
AME's David Dison says, "AME was set up as a content platform while Primedia (which totally closed down its film production division two years ago) was a distribution platform. The recent collapse of the South African media sector meant that we couldn't achieve critical mass. Although we did make mistakes, this was largely due to market forces. As such AME is no longer designed as a content platform, basically the dream of creating South African film content has all but been destroyed from AME's point of view."
Acting CEO Anthony Stein says, "We'd like to invest in films but we simply don't have deep enough pockets anymore and we don't have the luxury of making a long term investment, investing millions in film projects and waiting up to ten years for a return." In the short term the group is planning to address its debt problem and dispose of further non core businesses.
Despite AME's reluctance to invest in film production one of the group's best performers last year was subsidiary Moonlighting, the leading facilitator of foreign film and commercials production in the country. Moonlighting generated more than $8.8m (R100m) in earnings acting as local production facilitators for Michael Mann's Ali in Mozambique.